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The Scottish Improvement Journey - A Nationwide Approach to Improvement (Compiled 2016/17)

The Scottish Improvement Journey - A Nationwide Approach to Improvement (Compiled 2016/17)

Friday, April 20, 2018

ISBN: 9781788513487

This paper shares the story of the Scottish Improvement Journey, starting with its innovative beginnings, encompassing 50 years of clinical audit and various improvement programmes, then focusing on the introduction of the world’s first national patient safety programme, and exploring the spread of quality improvement into new social policy areas such as children’s services, education, and justice.

Executive Summary

Public services face many challenges ranging from increasing demands for services and

funding cuts, to inefficient or at times even ineffective processes. Quality improvement

can be considered as part of a solution to such challenges, as the approach focuses on

doing things better at the system level rather than just having people working more or

working even harder. Building on a long history of quality services, driven by staff and

professional bodies, Scotland’s present ambition is to make the country the best place to

live in. To achieve this goal, the Scottish Government recognises the need for quality

improvement in public services and is, therefore, putting great effort into building an

integrated landscape of quality improvement in public services.

This paper shares the story of the Scottish Improvement Journey, starting with its

innovative beginnings, encompassing 50 years of clinical audit and various improvement

programmes, then focusing on the introduction of the world’s first national patient safety

programme, and exploring the spread of quality improvement into new social policy areas

such as children’s services, education, and justice. Based on experiences of

improvement experts, senior leaders and various stakeholders in Scotland together with

those involved in improvement works, we demonstrate how a systematic application of a

quality improvement methodology can lead to dramatic changes and significant

improvement within public services on a national scale. This paper aims to provide an

understanding of improvement efforts in Scotland over this period, and share the key

factors that led them to success as well as challenges faced along the way.